The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

May 1, 2009

Guest Post – Living Green in Oklahoma

The following is a guest post from Lisa Sharp of Retro Housewife Goes Green. Until last weekend, getting hooked on that U.S. map puzzle, I didn’t know Oklahoma was shaped like a jagged meat cleaver. Did you?

It’s not as easy as San Francisco. Now areas like Norman, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Edmond are easier than the small town where I live.

Our farmer’s market is very small and isn’t year round. There is a year round, indoor farmers market in Oklahoma City, but that is around 80 miles from me.

Locally we have a very small natural food store, Wal-Mart, and a few locally-owned grocery stores. There is very little organic/natural food in this town. My husband and I drive around 60 miles once a month to do our grocery shopping in Norman in order to get organic, local and natural food.

One great thing we have is a dairy store called Braums (some of you in the south will know what it is). We get our milk there, as they do not use hormones or antibiotics. There are rumors that they are working on becoming certified organic. It’s much cheaper than organic milk, local and tastes great. I even went on a field trip to the farm while homeschooling. It’s very nice.

Other challenges to being green in not so green communities is recycling. We have no curbside and only recycle plastic #1 and #2, paper (junkmail, newspaper, cardboard and office paper), aluminum, and tin. I take my glass with me to Norman when we go each month. I have joined the local recycling coalition to hopefully help it become better.

Reusable bags are not commonplace in a town like this. Most people still deal with them fine but you will get a few dirty looks, something like “great another liberal hippy tree hugger!” Which is funny because I’m a registered Republican. My mom even had someone at the local Walgreens ask “what is going green?” Yes, she was serious. I have also been stopped in Wal-Mart because they thought I was stealing when I used my bag. And I had to tell the greeter not to put a sticker on my cloth bag because I wasn’t returning it; I was using it for groceries.

While the challenges of going green in a state like Oklahoma are much different and often larger than states like California, we are getting there. I think all of us in places like this need to be very open about our green lifestyle (not pushy of course) and lead by example. There are groups like the Oklahoma Sustainability Network that are working to help make a more sustainable Oklahoma.

Oklahoma is a wonderful state for wind power and we are starting to build more wind farms. Our power company OG&E is working to upgrade our power lines to handle wind power better.

Oklahoma is also a leading state for geothermal. When drilling for oil they almost always find the pockets of heat. Oklahoma will hopefully start tapping in to all our wonderful resources.

So don’t get discouraged if you are living in a community like mine. Get involved and help make your community more sustainable. Don’t wait for others to start the movement.

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Green Home
12 years ago

This is great to know that you are seriously working on adopting green living. I think this is a wonderful movement started by you.

13 years ago

I’m glad to see Lisa as a guest blogger. I read and enjoy both of your blogs. I too live in a small, somewhat unenlightened Southern community so shopping choices and recycling opportunities are slim. But people are coming around. When I first started bringing my own bags to the grocery store, I had one bagger comment that he had never seen someone bring their own bags! Now all the stores are selling reusable bags.

Over Coffee - the green edition
13 years ago

This is a very good point Lisa, Get involved and help make your community more sustainable. Don’t wait for others to start the movement. Getting people who don’t know about the “going green” movement to make small changes in their life will help us all in the long run. Keep up the good work spreading the eco-message!

13 years ago

Lisa is my daughter (good job on the guest post!) and I live in the same small, Oklahoma town. We may be in the minority but our numbers are growing. Just yesterday I had a nice discussion about recycling with a woman at the reception after a funeral. People are starting to get the message; we just need to keep on sharing.

Heather @ SGF
13 years ago

I’m from Texas and (at least my area) isn’t the greenest either. My hubby and I have talked about moving near his family in California, where we’d certainly fit in better, but have decided to stay put. There, we are 1 in a million. Here we can and do make a difference in our community every day!

That being said, it’s hard to compare towns where it is easy vs hard to be green. Sure, on the west coast, it might be easier, but I also think that when things are easy, people use it as a crutch to not be as mindful. Sure Whole Foods may be great but are you shopping there so you don’t have to be as mindful about your consumption? Do places like this just make us lazy?

Sure, it’s harder to be green where I live, but it means I have to be constantly on my toes. Always looking for new ways to green our lifestyle. Forever mindful and, I believe, that is the greatest goal of all.

Lisa Sharp
13 years ago

I have to say I have never thought about Oklahoma looking like a meat cleaver. That’s pretty funny.